Appellation: Columbia Valley
Demand and production continues to grow for this Merlot spearheaded by French winemaking icon Michel Rolland under the Long Shadows Vintners banner. He collaborates at more than 100 wineries around the globe, including this Walla Walla project with countryman Gilles Nicault. This 2013 vintage is the 11th that Rolland has created for Allen Shoup, and it may well be his best. Its more along the lines of a Meritage because of the blend as Merlot (75%) comes off Conner Lee, Dionysus and The Benches, while Tapteil on Red Mountain adds the Cabernet Sauvignon (10%). Touches of Petit Verdot (9%), Malbec (3%) and Cabernet Franc are skillfully positioned as well. Heady aromas of black cherry, Marionberry and dusty huckleberry pick up accents of vanilla, cocoa, chili spices and charcoal. Those fruits are mirrored on the creamy palate, joined by dark blueberry and fine-grained bittersweet chocolate tannins. While the tannins swell toward the finish, bold acidity and dark fruit tones keep up at a delicious pace. Rated Outstanding! by Great Northwest Wine. (15.2% alc.)
Cases produced: 2,246
Food pairings: Enjoy at the present with a well-marbled porterhouse steak, but patience will be rewarded, too.
Long Shadows Vintners, 1604 Frenchtown Road, Walla Walla, 509-526-0905, www.longshadows.com.